When it comes to injuries at work, most people may conjure up images of a slip and fall accident, an incident involving machinery, or a construction worker falling from a high-rise building. Surprisingly, the most common workplace injury is hearing loss.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22 million workers are annually exposed to hazardous noise levels at their job. The industries where occupational hearing loss is most common include manufacturing, construction, and mining.
The reason this injury may be so alarming is that most workplaces have regulations in place for employees to wear ear protection for high noise levels. This protection is designed to prevent occupational hearing loss. However, many cases of workplace hearing loss do not happen in high-level noise situations, but instead in medium noise situations where workers, as well as their managers, are unaware that the noise they are hearing is harmful to their health.
What Is Being Done
A study conducted by Stanford University found that workers who experience hearing loss most often are those who typically work around moderate noise levels. In this case, the fix appears to be rather easy; increase awareness about the risk of moderate noise levels, find ways to minimize it at work, and require employees to wear protective gear. Another possible option is for companies to get rid of noisy equipment, build sound barriers, or purchase an alternative.
Many federal departments and other agencies are trying to combat occupational hearing loss. The Department of Labor has efforts in place to reduce the number of workers affected by hearing loss through education and awareness campaigns, including a competition called “Hear and Now,” to get bids on ideas for methods and technology to alert employees about hazardous noise levels.
What Your Company Can Do
There are many ways your company can protect employees from work-related hearing loss. The CDC recommends an eight-component process to protect workers from occupational hearing loss, including monitoring their noise exposure. Employers should know how long their workers have been exposed to noise, and at what level.
Another component of the CDC’s recommended process is administrative controls. These are policies that protect workers from occupational hearing loss by limiting their exposure to high levels of noise. If an employee has been exposed to loud sounds for a prolonged period of time, then they should be removed from the environment to reduce the risk of occupational hearing loss.
The most critical step in the prevention of occupational hearing loss is to provide workers with the proper hearing protection equipment including noise-canceling headphones.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Injured Workers
If you have suffered from occupational hearing loss due to your job, contact an experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today. To schedule a free consultation, call 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.